I never thought I’d be saying this, but Abed was the best part of last night’s Community. His spot-on Christian Bale-as-Batman impersonation had me chuckling from “There’s a storm building on the horizon” to “Happy Halloween.” Batman seems to be enjoying a little pop-culture resurgence right now, from Modern Family‘s mention of the Caped Crusader this week (“Batman doesn’t get picked on because he’s a muscular genius”) to CollegeHumor’s parody of the superhero’s vanishing gimmick. And while it’s true that Bale’s raspy accent is an easy target for laughs, I was nevertheless delighted by how fully Abed embraced Batman’s persona. “Chex Mix, pretzels, baby carrots…predictable but appetizing!” I couldn’t agree more.
This episode also had the distinction of ending the show’s Star Trek number curse, which we discussed last week. While last night’s “Introduction to Statistics” didn’t quite match the prior week’s nonstop creativity, it came close enough. Plus, it was amusing to see all of these (increasingly likable) characters in their various disguises, from Britta as a spunky squirrel to Troy as a Delirious-era Eddie Murphy (I admit I didn’t figure out Troy’s costume until reading colleague Mandi Bierly’s behind-the-scenes look at the episode). And, of course, there was Pierce’s meowing Beastmaster. Last night’s top five moments, after the jump:
1. After saving Jeff and Pierce from a collapsing volcano of chairs, Abed, err, Batman delivered his oh-so-serious farewell monologue: “If I stay, there can be no party. I must be out there in the night, staying vigilant. Wherever a party needs to be saved, I’m there. Wherever there are masks, wherever there’s tomfoolery and joy, I’m there. But sometimes I’m not cause I’m out in the night, staying vigilant. Watching. Lurking. Running. Jumping. Hurtling. Sleeping. No, I can’t sleep. You Sleep. I’m awake. I don’t sleep. I don’t blink. Am I bird? No. I’m a bat. I am Batman. Or am I? Yes, I am Batman. Happy Halloween.” Supremely silly dialogue that’s made sublime by Danny Pudi’s delivery.
2. Annie was in the process or telling her Spanish class about the party she was throwing for the Day of the Dead. “It’s sometimes referred to as Mexican Halloween,” she revealed. Señor Chang chimed in: “Which is actually quite offensive to people familiar with Mexican Halloween as a sexual position.” Cut to Troy proudly nodding as if he actually knew what the heck Chang was talking about.
3. I’ve appreciated Yvette Nicole Brown’s buoyant turn as Shirley throughout the season, but last night she had a minor miracle of a scene. During the episode, Shirley became increasingly furious at Professor Slater (Lauren Stamile), a statistics teacher whom Jeff was attempting to woo. Shirley was convinced that the professor was stealing Jeff away from Britta, even though Britta had stated that she didn’t care, and this culminated in Shirley nearly trashing Slater’s office. Then Shirley realized what was really going on here. “I have a confession to make,” she told Britta. “My ex-husband came by this morning, and he asked for his ring back. It was his mother’s, and he wants to give it to his new girlfriend. Don’t get me wrong. The best thing that ever happened to me was him leaving. I just had always thought he’d come crawling back, and I’d get to tell him, ‘Go to Hell.’ He couldn’t give me that.” There wasn’t a phony syllable in Brown’s heart-tugging performance, and bravo to the Community writers for including such a genuinely moving moment in an otherwise joke-stuffed episode.
4. “Pierce, stop grinding on the Women’s Studies department!”
5. And, as has become customary for Community, Abed and Troy’s (clearly improvised) credits skit was a riot. With both of them donning Batman’s voice, they discussed the tragic possibility of waking up as a delicious food and wanting to eat yourself:
Troy: Candy corn looks like tiny traffic cones.
Abed: Yeah, it sure does.
Troy: And like a candy traffic school. Like a little gingerbread man at the wheel. And he’s drunk.
Abed: Look out!
Troy: You’d be driving, but you keep wanting to eat yourself.
Abed: All day.
Troy: That’s one of my biggest fears. If I ever woke up as a donut…
Abed: You would eat yourself?
Troy: I wouldn’t even question it!
Abed. Hmm, that’d be tasty.
Troy: It’s cool to know other people think about this stuff too.
PopWatchers, which character’s costume was your favorite? I’m partial to Britta the Squirrel, especially because her tail and acorn were proportionally accurate. It’s all about the details, you know…